Great questions to ask family to get a more complete family history

Being a genealogist is a tough job. While it can entail tremendous amounts of rewards and life-changing experiences, it takes a lot to becoming successful at it.

One of the common ways is of course, interviewing living relatives. Apart from getting them to sit down with you and talk about your ancestral history, it also matters what you ask them after.

Here’s a quick run down on the questions you would want to raise come interview time.


  1. What’s your full name?
  2. What are the names of your parents?
  3. Where did you live with your family?
  4. Where and when were you born?
  5. How many are there in your family?
  6. What are your fondest family memories?
  7. What stories about your family do you remember?
  8. Were there any famous stories or tall tales to tell about your other relatives?
  9. Are there any physical characteristics evident in your family?


  1. What are you favorite past time activities growing up?
  2. What kind of school activities did you participate in?
  3. Were there any traditional celebrations you were practicing before?
  4. What’s your favorite music?
  5. What are the activities you shared with your family?
  6. What’s a typical Sunday with your family?
  7. Do you have pets in the house?


  1. What are the jobs you took growing up?
  2. How long did you last with those jobs?
  3. What’s your spouse’s work?
  4. Are your children working or studying?
  5. How long did it take you to finish school?
  6. What are your accomplishments at work and in school?

Married life.

  1. Did you ever get married?
  2. If so, how many times?
  3. Describe the married life.
  4. How did the proposal go?
  5. How long did it take for you to marry?
  6. Were there any personals struggles before finally marrying?

Keep in mind that these are only some of the primary questions you need to ask. Never forget to document everything down for you not to miss an ounce of data.

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